Home AdExchanger Talks Brand Safety Is Critical – But Don’t Overdo It

Brand Safety Is Critical – But Don’t Overdo It

Mia Libby, SVP of enterprise, The Wall Street Journal

It’s become a cliché by this point that no advertiser wants to end up on the cover of The Wall Street Journal because of a brand safety scandal.

But that fear has caused “a massive overcorrection,” says Mia Libby, the WSJ’s SVP of enterprise, on this week’s episode of AdExchanger Talks.

It’s okay – and an advertiser’s right – to be cautious about brand safety. It’s their money after all. But excluding all news from programmatic media plans isn’t the answer, she says.

And the fact is that many advertisers are still using the blunt instrument of overly conservative keyword exclusion lists, and it’s to their own disadvantage.

“I understand that there are many news sites and many spots that are not necessarily suitable for certain brands,” she says. “But all of us should not be under that same umbrella by any means, and I would like to see some more nuance.”

Nuance both in how advertisers think about brand safety and in terms of the technology they use to protect themselves from running against unsavory content.

And here’s the irony: There’s been research to prove that ads adjacent to quality news stories about sensitive topics don’t have a negative impact on engagement, and yet overzealous keyword blocking does, because it limits a brand’s reach.

The Wall Street Journal has worked with advertisers, for example, that wanted to avoid running against any mention of an entire country, which affected the deployment of their campaign.

“No one is advocating for running with news everywhere – every single type of news across every platform,” Libby says. “But brands like The Wall Street Journal, which is known for its journalism and its standard of ethics – these are the places where brands should feel really comfortable running adjacent to news.”

Also in this episode: Libby’s Hulk Hogan connection, her take on GARM’s categorization of breaking news and op-ed coverage and why WSJ parent company News Corp’s recent licensing agreement with OpenAI isn’t a deal with the devil. Plus: What you can do to support Evan Gershkovich, the WSJ reporter who’s been falsely accused of espionage and held in a Russian prison since March 2023.

Must Read

Comic: What's your pick?

Google Says It Won't Deprecate Cookies In Chrome After All (?!)

You read that headline right: Google is seriously considering scrapping its plans to deprecate third-party cookies in Chrome. Instead, it’s proposing some kind of TBD opt-out tool for third-party cookies.

Comic: An ID Bridge Too Far?

Programmatic Companies Wrestle With ID Bridging And What Counts As Fraud

In January, the Chrome browser removed third-party cookies for 1% of users, to facilitate testing of the Privacy Sandbox –  and a new controversy was born.

It’s Open Season On SaaS As Brands Confront Their Own Subscription Fatigue

For CFOs and CEOs, we’ve entered a kind of open hunting season on martech SaaS.

Privacy! Commerce! Connected TV! Read all about it. Subscribe to AdExchanger Newsletters

Brian Lesser Is The New Global CEO Of GroupM

If you were wondering whether Brian Lesser was planning to take some time off after handing the CEO reins of InfoSum to Lauren Wetzel last week – here’s your answer.

Comic: S.P. O'Middleman's

TripleLift CEO Dave Clark Abruptly Exits After Setting The SSP On A New Trajectory

Dave Clark, who’s led TripleLift for the past two years, is stepping down, effective immediately, and is being replaced by a coterie of TripleLifters.

shopping cart

Moloco Invests In Its Competitor Topsort As The Retail Media Stakes Go Up

Topsort can lean into Moloco’s algorithmic personalization, while Moloco benefits from Topsort’s footprint with local retailers in the US and in Latin America.